Musicians who can both play out in their loud rock bands, and play solo acoustic shows may have the best of both worlds. They can blast it loud and large on tour with a big band or they can do an easier tour, with a lot less equipment and overhead costs and do it solo.
Durango Acoustic Music will import just such a performer when Portland's Colin Lake plays a show at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Ska Brewing headquarters. DAM will give two tickets to each member, and it's super cheap for everyone else.
Alex Week also is performing.
Lake's most recent gig in Durango was with his band Wellbottom last spring. The one-time Fort Lewis College student is touring solo from Portland all the way down to New Orleans, where he'll spend the winter.
The solo approach isn't necessarily a new thing for Lake, but something that doesn't happen as often as full-band shows.
"I spend most of my time with the band, but sometimes solo is the only way to make something feasible," said Lake by telephone from Portland. "I do like playing solo, and it's a totally different challenge for me, when you are all by yourself, there is nothing between you and the paying audience but a microphone."
Lake plays solo lap-slide guitar. He's influenced by solo performers Kelly Joe Phelps (who also plays lap-slide guitar) and the late Chris Whitley. The lap-slide guitar isn't the most common instrument of a solo performer, but distinctive enough to set Lake apart from your stand-alone singer-songwriter with a guitar.
"To me, there are dudes with guitars that seem to have something special, like they are channeling something. It's bold to go up there and say 'look at me for the next hour,'" said Lake. "When I come solo, people think I may be some waify songwriter that may whine about everything, but my whole thing is I can get them right off the bat with the first song and show them something unique, which I can do because of the instrument I play. My style of music is familiar, but still unique."
Berkeley School of Music student Weed will open the show. The 21-year-old Alaska native plays solo folk, blues and Americana. He'll play a set by himself, and he and Lake also will play songs as a duo.
After this tour and spending the winter in the Big Easy, Lake plans to continue playing with his band, but will also put out a solo release.
"I'm looking to put together a full-length solo album with some sparse accompaniment. I've been experimenting with some cool sounds that are suited for a sparse, solo-type arrangement," said Lake. "Playing solo is a complete blast. I love it."
Liggettb@fortlewis.eduBryant Liggett is a freelance writer and program director of KDUR.